The Commitments, Theatre Royal, Glasgow Monday 12 – Saturday 30 December, 2016

the commitments

the commitments


The Commitments – review by Pat Byrne

The Commitments The Theatre Royal
Nearly thirty years since The Commitments first burst from the pages of Roddy Doyle’s best-selling novel, the world’s hardest working soul band will be touring the UK. Direct from a record-breaking residency at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End, the smash hit musical comes to the Theatre Royal Glasgow from Monday 12 until Saturday 30 December 2016.
Roddy Doyle says; “The Commitments were born in Dublin, moved to London, and will soon be hopping all over the shop.  I wrote the novel – invented the characters – in 1986, and it thrills me to think that they will be entertaining audiences throughout the UK and Ireland 30 years later, in 2016.”
The Commitments is the story of Jimmy Rabbitte, a young working class music fan, who shapes an unlikely bunch of amateur musicians into an amazing live act, the finest soul band Dublin has ever produced. The show follows the journey of two members of a frustrated synthesiser band – the opening scene has them playing, but ignored, in a shop window – who turn to Jimmy, the local music expert, for help.
Placing a classified advert in a music paper, Jimmy auditions a number of wannabes before finalising the new line up who he names The Commitments. The humour kicks in as the band get to know each other and their instruments, and proceed through early rehearsals for their first gig. Just as they improve and begin to get a name for themselves they combust. The backing singers are all getting off with the middle aged horn playing legend, the singer has entered Eurovision, the drummer has walked out mid-gig and the saxophone player has dangerous leanings towards a jazz career.
The show has been adapted for the stage by Booker Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle, from his original novel. It is directed by the award-winning Jamie Lloyd, famed for directing the critically acclaimed Macbeth, and packed with more than 20 classic soul songs performed live on stage including: Night Train, Try A Little Tenderness, River Deep, Mountain High, In The Midnight Hour, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, Save Me, Mustang Sally, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Thin Line Between Love and Hate, Reach Out, Uptight, Knock On Wood, I Can’t Turn You Loose and more!
The Commitments received huge critical acclaim following the September 2013 World Premiere in London.  Opening to rave reviews, it was quickly hailed as a smash hit musical sensation.  The Sunday Times awarded the show five stars, saying “The Commitments is the musical we’ve been waiting for. So good, our critic almost weeps”. The Daily Telegraph and The Times both gave the show four stars and the Daily Mail said the show was “a fabulous fun night out”.
Casting announcement to follow.

The Commitments
Theatre Royal Glasgow
Mon 12 – Sat 30 Dec 2016
Mon – Sat eves 7.30pm
Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm
Box Office 0844 871 7647 (bkg fee) Calls cost 7p per min, plus your phone company’s access charge. (bkg fee)

The Commitments, Theatre Royal  – Review by Pat Byrne

palace theatre

 Photo from The Commitments Facebook Page


Jim and I went along to Theatre Royal, my favourite theatre in Glasgow, on Monday 12 December for the opening of The Commitments.  We’d seen the movie in Dublin twenty five years previously and loved it. We also enjoyed our night out at the theatre and agreed that the music was fantastic. It’s a very busy show with a huge cast and at times was a bit frenetic – so fast paced that it was a challenge to keep up.  There were some laughs and I found the scenes with the potential band members singing the pop songs of the day, at their auditions in Jimmy Rabbitte’s living room, very funny.  Jimmy (Andrew Linnie) was likeable but for the main part you didn’t really form much of an emotional bond with the characters so spared any feelings of sadness when the band started to disintegrate. 

Whilst the pathos didn’t quite work, it’s an entertaining show and the audience would have stayed all night listening to much loved soul numbers including: “You Keep Me Hanging On”, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, “River Deep, Mountain High”, “In the Midnight Hour”, “Reach Out” … and many more. 

The highlight of the show was the final section, which was performed more like a gig. The audience were in raptures when Brian Gilligan (Deco) sang a superb version of Otis Redding’s Try A Little Tenderness.  At this stage we were completely drawn in and the young exuberant cast appeared to be relishing their performance with  brilliant renditions of “Mustang Sally”, and “Thin Line Between Love and Hate”.

The feelgood show runs at Theatre Royal until 30th December – if you enjoy classic soul music you’ll love it.


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This section: What's on in Glasgow: Theatre and Comedy

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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